In recent decades, there have been three basic ways that turnout has worked to produce the sort of "big wave" midterm that the Democrats are hoping for next week.
In an election environment which seems to favor the Democrats in so many ways, the Republicans continue to hold two strong cards; they have more money and they are better at getting out the vote than are the Democrats.
The concern among some politicians and political experts over the lack of competitiveness in U.S. elections is generally not shared by the public. Moreover, voters appear to lack a clear sense of whether the elections in their own House districts are competitive or not.
Political pollsters continue to cast a wary eye on the growing number of Americans who use only a cell phone and have no landline. The Pew Research Center estimates that this group now constitutes one-in-ten adults. But three Pew surveys of cell-only Americans this year have found that their absence from landline surveys is not creating a measurable bias in the bottom-line findings.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that Iraq continues to be the dominant issue for voters. More than four-in-ten voters (45%) view the situation in Iraq as the most important, or second most important issue in their vote, the highest percentage for the six issues tested.
One of the biggest political questions in the final weeks of this Congressional campaign is whether the national trend in support for Democratic candidates is big enough to overcome the safe-seat redistricting that in recent years has led to fewer and fewer seats turning over in Congress.
National elections are the high season for pollsters and with Election Day now less than two weeks away, new polls on the fight for Congress are being released nearly every day. Commonly, pollsters use something called the "generic ballot" to assess the state of the congressional race. Just how accurate is the "generic ballot" in predicting election results?
After declining in the late 1990's, there has been an increase in recent years in the number of journalists sent to prison for not revealing confidential sources. This Project for Excellence in Journalism report documents this trend and analyzes the conflicted public attitudes about the journalistic practice of using confidential sources.
In a Pew Forum roundtable conversation, Forum senior fellow John Green and two prominent journalists speculate that it will be difficult for the Republican Party to mobilize evangelicals to go to the polls in great numbers next month. They also discuss challenges faced by the Democratic Party in appealing to this segment of the electorate.
A new survey finds large differences between Americans who are not registered to vote or vote only rarely and those who cast ballots at least some of the time. These two groups at the bottom of the voting participation scale are much less likely than regular or intermittent voters to believe that voting will make much of a difference.